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TV By the Numbers: Holiday Movies Fuel Freeform’s Watch-Time Windfall

Eric Lloyd (left) and Tim Allen in 'The Santa Clause'
Eric Lloyd (left) and Tim Allen in 'The Santa Clause', one of the holiday themed movies that aired on Freeform during the week of December 6. (Image credit: Disney/Attila Dory)

Below is a snapshot of TV by the numbers for the week of December 6-December 12, showcasing the most-watched shows and networks using glass-level data from Vizio’s Inscape, and network and show TV ad impressions insights via iSpot.tv.

Most-Watched Shows and Networks

Via Inscape, Vizio’s TV data product with glass-level insights from a panel of more than 17 million active and opted-in smart TVs. Data is linear, live TV only and includes all episode types (new and reruns). Rankings are by percent share duration (i.e., time spent watching).

The National Football League pads its watch-time lead compared to other TV programming, with 5.86% of total minutes watched during the week of December 6-12 (up from 5.63% the previous week). 

Some additional insights about the top programming on TV:

  • Despite being limited to the Army-Navy Game and a handful of Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) playoff games, college football still nabbed 0.81% of watch-time on the week.
  • Law & Order: Special Victims Unit shoots up to No. 2 in our ranking, with 0.88% of minutes watched.
  • Both Chicago P.D. (No. 10) and Chicago Fire (No. 24) are among the most-watched programs from December 6-12.
  • Rerun viewing of The Big Bang Theory and Two and a Half Men lifted both shows into our top 25 most-watched list after neither was included the previous week.

Also: Holiday 2021 TV Premiere Dates

Most-watched shows on TV by percent share duration December 6-12

Yet again, it’s CBS atop the most-watched network list for the week, with 8.49% of watch-time (down slightly from 8.82% the previous week). As expected, the NFL led the way there, though the Army and Navy’s annual matchup was also a big draw.

More insights around the most-watched networks from December 6-12:

  • Freeform’s Christmas movies continue to increase watch-time for the network, amounting to 1.73% of minutes watched from December 6-12 (up from 1.49% the previous week)
  • NBC added to watch-time from the previous week (from 6.91% to 7.33%), thanks in part to the People’s Choice Awards.
  • USA Network leaps from No. 18 to No. 15 week-over-week, mostly by way of Law & Order: SVU and Chicago P.D. reruns.
  • History Channel is the lone week-over-week newcomer to our ranking, moving up from No. 28 the previous week to No. 24 from December 6-12 (with 1.04% of minutes watched).

Also: Fox Is Selling 2023 Super Bowl Spots as Sports Ad Market Heats Up

Most-watched networks on TV by percent share duration December 6-12

Top Shows and Networks by TV Ad Impressions

Via iSpot.tv, the always-on TV ad measurement and attribution company. Rankings are by TV ad impressions, for new episodes only. 

NFL games continue to outpace the rest of TV, delivering over 7.2 billion ad impressions from December 6-12 — nearly eight times the next-highest programming (Good Morning America).

More data about the top programs by TV ad impressions during the week:

  • Live National Basketball Association games ascend to No. 3 by impressions as fan interest continues to grow about a third of the way through the 2021-22 regular season.
  • Soap operas were four of the top 25 programs by TV ad impressions from December 6-12, led by The Young and the Restless (No. 6), and followed by General Hospital (No. 14), Days of Our Lives (No. 20) and The Bold and the Beautiful (No. 25).
  • Even with minimal college football action on the week, the sport is still No. 7 by TV ad impressions.
  • The top 10 in our ranking features two different game shows: The Price Is Right (No. 8) and Let’s Make a Deal (No. 10).

Top shows by TV ad impressions December 6-12

CBS remains atop our ad-impressions-by-network ranking for December 6-12, with 27% of those TV ad impressions delivered by Sunday’s NFL doubleheader. 

Additional insights around the top networks by impressions from the week:

  • Bravo continues moving up our rankings, migrating from No. 18 to No.15 week-over-week.
  • Live airings of NBC’s Chicago-themed shows (Chicago Fire, Chicago Med, Chicago P.D.) served over 8% of TV ad impressions combined on the network for the week.
  • Fox News hurdles over Fox by impressions (from No. 5 to No. 4), as Fox lost college football impressions now that the regular season is over.
  • A Royal Queens Christmas garnered the largest impressions share of voice on Hallmark Channel for the week (among first-airing programs), with over 34% from December 6-12.

Top TV networks by ad impressions December 6-12

John Cassillo is an analyst and contributor with TV[R]EV.